Car safety systems matter.
Tiger Woods doesn't have a great history when it comes to cars. Most memorably, it was his own Cadillac Escalade the legendary golfer crashed into a fire hydrant and a neighbor's tree. This time, in February of 2021, Woods crashed a Genesis GV80 courtesy car he was driving during the Genesis Invitational. Despite the wreckage, Woods was extricated by firefighters with just leg injuries, which is amazing considering the state of the vehicle after the crash. As it turns out, things could've been a lot worse for the pro golfer had he been driving something other than the GV80. That's according to a report by the Detroit News in which an IIHS spokesperson praised modern safety systems and the role they had in keeping Woods more or less in tact.
Woods' vehicle was found overturned after he hit a center median in the road, then careened off the road entirely and hit a tree. There are no details released about the crash yet, so we don't know what speed he was doing or what caused Woods to veer off the road.
The crash could easily have left Woods with much worse injuries or even killed him. David Harkey, president of The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, believes it was modern safety systems that saved Woods from a worse fate. "It really is a sign of how well these vehicles are built nowadays and the combination of all these safety features," Harkey said. "None of us want to be in that kind of violent collision. But your odds of surviving something like that now are much greater than they were a decade ago."
The Detroit News points to the "double-layer cocoon" modern vehicles form around the occupants. The first layer is made up of crumple zones in the chassis that absorb a crash's impact and spread it around the occupants to keep the cabin intact. The second layer is the "passive" systems like seat-belts and airbags. In the GV80's case, it has a ten-airbag system, including a driver's knee airbag, front and rear side airbags, a front center side airbag, and rollover-resistant curtain airbags.
"The underlying structure in Tiger's crash did what [it] was supposed to do," said another expert. "The systems worked and kept Tiger seated and in an upright and protected position."
Other key features that helped in the crash include the fact the roof maintained its integrity and the tempered glass, even the panoramic glass sunroof, was still intact after the crash.
Reportedly, the injuries Woods received are to his right leg with a shattered tibia, fibula, and foot bones. Those are common injuries in a head-on collision where the driver hits the brake pedal hard. Unfortunately, if you hit a tree head-on, no practical design in the world will stop the engine and transmission from being pushed back into the firewall. What's incredible is how the GV80 protected his head and the rest of his body. This could have easily have been a tragedy rather than just a nasty accident, and not exactly how Genesis would want attention drawn to the brand's excellent safety ratings.